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The mystery of water: In chemistry it is now almost a “religious” controversy


Well, “two different liquids” is one theory to account for the fine-tuning of water for life:

Water, the most commonplace of liquids, is also the strangest. It has at least 66 properties that differ from most liquids – high surface tension, high heat capacity, high melting and boiling points and low compressibility. One school of thought is that water is not a complicated liquid but ‘two simple liquids with a complicated relationship’. For some, this statement contradicts the basic principles of physical chemistry; for others it explains just why water behaves in such an anomalous way.

Over the last decade the academic arguments have reached boiling point. ‘[It’s] bringing out very strong, almost religious opinions among different scientists,’ says Anders Nilsson, a chemical physicist with appointments at Stockholm University in Sweden and Stanford University in the US. Chemists have attributed water’s strange properties to the tetrahedrally arranged hydrogen-bonding networks that it forms, but exactly what is going on, particularly when water is in a supercooled state, is still up for debate.

Rachel Brazil, “The weirdness of water” at Chemistry World

But the real goal is to rule out design in nature, which the controversialists can’t do, hence the “religious” nature of the controversy.

A friend writes to remind us that this is basically the stuff of Michael Denton’s book, Wonder of Water:

One wonders what gimcrack will be thunk up to explain it all away. “Two liquids” probably isn’t enough.

Part of the wonder of water is its distribution around the earth. Look up at the clouds and see a remarkable distribution system that depend on the fine tuning of the earth in terms of mass, size, distance from sun etc. Without the temperature properties of ice, water and vapor and changing temperatures of the world, water would not spread around the globe. Tectonic plates produce mountains the accumulate snow and ice to provide water to many remote places. Water’s ability to dissolve many things depends on its ionic structure. Because of that it won’t dissolve fats which is why we must wash with soap and water to destroy the virus which has a fat surface. jerry
Of note: The many life enabling properties of water are found to be 'fine-tuned' by, and/or dependent on, an "incredibly delicate, balance of quantum forces."
Water's quantum weirdness makes life possible - October 2011 Excerpt: WATER'S life-giving properties exist on a knife-edge. It turns out that life as we know it relies on a fortuitous, but incredibly delicate, balance of quantum forces.,,, They found that the hydrogen-oxygen bonds were slightly longer than the deuterium-oxygen ones, which is what you would expect if quantum uncertainty was affecting water’s structure. “No one has ever really measured that before,” says Benmore. We are used to the idea that the cosmos’s physical constants are fine-tuned for life. Now it seems water’s quantum forces can be added to this “just right” list. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.900-waters-quantum-weirdness-makes-life-possible.html
The interesting thing about having water's many life enabling properties to be 'fine-tuned' by, and/or dependent on, an "incredibly delicate, balance of quantum forces" is that "quantum mechanics cannot explain the periodic table of elements.,,, The quantities that interest chemists do not appear in Schrödinger’s equation,,,"
Super-Saturated Chemistry - Marc Henry - Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science and Quantum Physics – Dec. 2016 Excerpt: Physics claims to be the unique science of matter. All of the other sciences, physicists believe, are special cases of general relativity and quantum mechanics. It is this position of presumptive supremacy that drives the quest for a Theory of Everything.,,, Yet quantum mechanics cannot explain the periodic table of elements.,,, Even though Schrödinger’s equation gives a good account of simple systems, no inference is possible to more complex systems. An additional inductive step is necessary.12 With multi-electron systems, approximations must be made and validated by comparison with experiment, not through theory.13 It is a quite remarkable form of empirical mathematics. The quantities that interest chemists do not appear in Schrödinger’s equation,,, ,,,, The chemist is an artist of sorts, close in his own way to the mathematician, who is also able to create his own objects.3 Only their tools differ. Chemical activity produces about one million new molecules every year. In 1984, there were about ten million molecules; in 2015, one hundred million.4 http://inference-review.com/article/super-saturated-chemistry
That is to say that chemistry in general, and therefore water's many life enabling properties in particular, simply are not reducible to the first principles of quantum mechanics. In short, chemistry is incomplete. This incompleteness of chemistry also plays out in mathematics and physics to,
THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010 Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/07/the-god-of-the-mathematicians
In the following article entitled 'Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics', which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists' point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description."
Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics - December 9, 2015 Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,, It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, "We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s," added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. "So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists' point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description." http://phys.org/news/2015-12-quantum-physics-problem-unsolvable-godel.html
Moreover, it is not only water that appears fine-tuned for life, but, as Michael Denton points out in the following podcast and article, the periodic table itself also gives the appearance of having been designed for life.
“Dr. Michael Denton on Evidence of Fine-Tuning in the Universe” (Remarkable balance, and the amazing 'coincidences', of various key elements for life) – podcast http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2012-08-21T14_43_59-07_00 Michael Denton's Privileged Species Premieres in Seattle to a Packed House - November 14, 2014 Excerpt: If life exists elsewhere (in the universe), its home would remind us of Earth and the aliens would reminds us of ourselves. The periodic table, so wonderfully concise, is a recipe for us. Oh, and for our way of life too. While focusing on the unique properties of water, carbon, and oxygen, Denton shows that the chemical elements appear beautifully structured to allow the development of technology, from our use of fire to the rise of computers. He emphasizes that this "stunning series of coincidences" is not a matter of scientific controversy, and in fact represents the great scientific discovery of the past century. It's a matter of fact, not interpretation. Denton observed that properties of nature uniquely fit for life continue to be discovered regularly and he offered the prediction that in the upcoming century scientists will uncover more and more. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/11/michael_denton_091241.html
Of supplemental note to just how fine-tuned water itself is for life in particular:
Water Is 'Designer Fluid' That Helps Proteins Change Shape - 2008 Excerpt: "When bound to proteins, water molecules participate in a carefully choreographed ballet that permits the proteins to fold into their functional, native states. This delicate dance is essential to life." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806113314.htm Scientists glimpse why life can't happen without water - June 20, 2016 Water molecules control protein motion, study finds Excerpt: Water molecules typically flow around each other at picosecond speeds, while proteins fold at nanosecond speeds--1,000 times slower. Previously, Zhong's group demonstrated that water molecules slow down when they encounter a protein. Water molecules are still moving 100 times faster than a protein when they connect with it, however. In the new study, the researchers were able to determine that the water molecules directly touched the protein's "side chains," the portions of the protein molecule that bind and unbind with each other to enable folding and function. The researchers were also able to note the timing of movement in the molecules. Computer simulations at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) helped the researchers visualize what was going on: where the water moved a certain way, the protein folded nanoseconds later, as if the water molecules were nudging the protein into shape. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160620160214.htm Pro-Intelligent Design Peer Reviewed Scientific Paper Argues for an “Engineered World” Casey Luskin - December 26, 2010 Excerpt: Another aspect of the universe they claim shows evidence of engineering is its “biofriendliness.” They focus on the life-sustaining properties of water: "The remarkable properties of water are numerous. Its very high specific heat maintains relatively stable temperatures both in oceans and organisms. As a liquid, its thermal conductivity is four times any other common liquid, which makes it possible for cells to efficiently distribute heat. On the other hand, ice has a low thermal conductivity, making it a good thermal shield in high latitudes. A latent heat of fusion only surpassed by that of ammonia tends to keep water in liquid form and creates a natural thermostat at 0°C. Likewise, the highest latent heat of vaporization of any substance – more than five times the energy required to heat the same amount of water from 0°C-100°C – allows water vapor to store large amounts of heat in the atmosphere. This very high latent heat of vaporization is also vital biologically because at body temperature or above, the only way for a person to dissipate heat is to sweat it off. Water’s remarkable capabilities are definitely not only thermal. A high vapor tension allows air to hold more moisture, which enables precipitation. Water’s great surface tension is necessary for good capillary effect for tall plants, and it allows soil to hold more water. Water’s low viscosity makes it possible for blood to flow through small capillaries. A very well documented anomaly is that water expands into the solid state, which keeps ice on the surface of the oceans instead of accumulating on the ocean floor. Possibly the most important trait of water is its unrivaled solvency abilities, which allow it to transport great amounts of minerals to immobile organisms and also hold all of the contents of blood. It is also only mildly reactive, which keeps it from harmfully reacting as it dissolves substances. Recent research has revealed how water acts as an efficient lubricator in many biological systems from snails to human digestion. By itself, water is not very effective in this role, but it works well with certain additives, such as some glycoproteins. The sum of these traits makes water an ideal medium for life. Literally, every property of water is suited for supporting life. It is no wonder why liquid water is the first requirement in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. All these traits are contained in a simple molecule of only three atoms. One of the most difficult tasks for an engineer is to design for multiple criteria at once. … Satisfying all these criteria in one simple design is an engineering marvel. Also, the design process goes very deep since many characteristics would necessarily be changed if one were to alter fundamental physical properties such as the strong nuclear force or the size of the electron." They then explore why the very elements that are most common in life — hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen — are so prevalent in the universe: "Hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon rank one, three, and four, respectively, in prevalence in the universe (helium is the other). The explanation has to do with fusion within stars. Early reactions start with hydrogen atoms and then produce deuterium (mass 2), tritium (mass 3), and alpha particles (mass 4), but no stable mass 5 exists. This limits the creation of heavy elements and was considered one of “God’s mistakes” until further investigation. In actuality, the lack of a stable mass 5 necessitates bigger jumps of four which lead to carbon (mass 12) and oxygen (mass 16). Otherwise, the reactions would have climbed right up the periodic table in mass steps of one (until iron, which is the cutoff above which fusion requires energy rather than creating it). The process would have left oxygen and carbon no more abundant than any other element." The authors then quote Fred Hoyle on the subject, who stated, “I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside the stars.” - per Evolution News
Verse and Quote
John 4: 13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.” "The vastness, beauty, orderliness, of the heavenly bodies, the excellent structure of animals and plants; and the other phenomena of nature justly induce an intelligent and unprejudiced observer to conclude a supremely powerful, just, and good author." — Robert Boyle (1627 - 1691), father of experimental chemistry
speaking about water. Most lay atheists still think, "look for water, you will find life" Wrong again ! Actually, water is a big problem for the origin of life research. It is called: WATER PARADOX "When trying to understand the origins of life on Earth, researchers run into a paradox: while water is an indispensable solvent for all known life forms that exist today, water also inhibits the formation of string-like chains of nucleic acid polymers such as RNA that were likely precursors of life." https://phys.org/news/2018-01-water-based-life.html martin_r

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